Typhoon Hato death toll rises to 8 in southern China’s Guangdong province
High winds estimated to have caused US$825.5 million worth of damage to property, farmland
At least eight people were killed and hundreds of houses were toppled in Guangdong province on Wednesday as southern China was lashed by the strongest typhoon to hit the country this year.
Four people were killed in Zhongshan city. A woman was killed in Zhongshan after being hit by a tree that was brought down by Typhoon Hato as she was riding her bicycle. The incident happened about noon in the downtown area of the city.
Another Zhongshan resident was killed in the late afternoon when his truck fell on top of him. He had been struggling against the gale force winds to keep the vehicle upright.
The typhoon also claimed three lives in Zhuhai, Xinhua said. No details were released, but local media reported that one of the people drowned in a flooded garage. At least one was killed in Jiangmen city.
Over 300 houses were destroyed in Guangdong in the high winds, which also damaged at least 20 sq km of farmland. Initial estimates put the cost of the damage at 5.5 billion yuan (US$825.5 million).
Zhuhai neighbours Macau, where eight people have so far been reported killed by Typhoon Hato.
Before the typhoon struck, about 279,000 residents of Guangdong and 128,000 people in neighbouring Guangxi province were ordered to leave their homes, authorities said.
The high winds and heavy rains played havoc with the local power network on Wednesday, with more than 700,000 households experiencing blackouts. Thousands of technicians were dispatched to repair downed lines.
Public transport services were cancelled in cities across Guangdong, while many businesses and schools closed for the day. More than 300 flights into and out of the province were cancelled.
All but a few train services had resumed as of Thursday, though many motorways and smaller roads remained closed.
Motorists were advised to avoid Zhuhai, where heavy traffic jams were expected as a result of the damage caused to traffic lights, local media reported.
The weakening storm was moving westwards on Thursday, taking heavy rains to Guangxi as well as the southwestern provinces of Yunnan and Guizhou. The downpours are expected to continue through Friday.
The China Meteorological Administration on Wednesday issued its first red alert of the year – the highest possible – followed later by a second-tier orange warning for possible heavy rainstorms.